Dalai Lama calls for more research on Panchen Lama

[Reuters Media] DHARAMSALA, Sep 14: Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, on Saturday stressed the need for more research works on Panchen Lama after China last week said that the second-highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism is “living a normal life”.

Almost a week back, Norbu Dunzhub, a member of the Tibet Autonomous Region’s United Front Work Department, had claimed that ‘the reincarnated child’ Panchen Lama was being educated, living a normal life, growing up healthily and did not wish to be disturbed.

Responding to the rare admission of the fate of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, now 26, who was six years old when he was taken away after exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama named him as the 11th Panchen Lama, Dalai Lamasaid more research was needed in the subject.

“I don’t know. We need more research work,” said Dalai Lama.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the disappearance of Gendun Choekyi Nyima, whose fate remains of deep concern to many Tibetans.

Though officially atheist, the Chinese Communist Party has long maintained that Gendun Choekyi Nyima is not the real Panchen Lama. In 1995, in a bid to win the hearts and minds of the Tibetans, the government selected Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama. He is reviled by many Tibetans as a fake.

The Dalai Lama and China have repeatedly tussled over who has final authority on the issue of reincarnation. Tibetans fear that China will use the issue of the Dalai Lama’s succession to split Tibetan Buddhism, with one new Dalai Lama named by exiles and one by the government after his death.

In a policy document on the “Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet”, the government condemned the Dalai Lama for “plotting towards Tibetan independence”.

The Dalai Lama denies seeking independence, saying he only wants genuine autonomy for Tibet, something he calls the Middle Way. Beijing believes that concept is merely a smokescreen for independence.

Chinese troops marched into Tibet in 1950. Activists say China has violently tried to stamp out religious freedom and culture in Tibet. China rejects the criticism, saying its rule has ended serfdom and brought development to a backward region.


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